January 24

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
French Colonial Musical Life
as Depicted in L’Illustration

The Parisian journal L’Illustration was the first illustrated newsweekly in France. Between 1843 and 1899, the journal published over 3,350 engravings of musical interest, offering an expansive visual account of contemporary musical life. The journal’s focus on French culture included that of musical life in the French colonies. We bring the following images to your attention not only because of their historical importance, but also because the illustrated press is an excellent, though neglected source for the study of (post)colonialism, race, diaspora, and ethnomusicology.

A Buddhist ceremony, first published in Charles Lemire’s L’Indochine (1884)
L’Illustration, Vol. LXXXIV (25 October 1884): 276.


Trumpeters of the King of Boussa, in Niger
L’Illustration, Vol. CIX (9 January 1897): 17.


Chinese musicians
L’Illustration, Vol. LXII (20 September 1873): 197.


A trio of musicians from Madagascar
L’Illustration, Vol. CVI (9 November 1895): 379.


Musicians in performance from Tétouan, Morocco
L’Illustration, Vol. VII (18 April 1846): 104.


Guinean King Dinah-Salifou, his Queen, and their retinue, including musicians
L’Illustration, Vol. XCIV (6 July 1889): 12.


RIPM search tip: To access more on non-Western musics, search the name of a country as a keyword.  For example, a search for “Madagascar” as a keyword in RIPM’s Retrospective Index and Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals reveals 180 records in German, English, French, and Italian journals.

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (also Preservation Series, forthcoming).  

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Posted January 24, 2018 by Ben Knysak in category "Illustration(s) of the Week